Origami is rapidly emerging in science and engineering applications for use as deployable structures of all scales, but assemblies are often flexible and require bracing or locking mechanisms to achieve the desired stiffness. Professor Glaucio H. Paulino, research group member Evgueni Filipov
of the University of Illinois, and Professor Tomohiro Tachi
of the University of Tokyo developed a unique method of coupling tubes derived from the Miura-ori pattern. Their zipper coupled tubes have a single flexible motion for deployment, but are substantially stiffer for all other deformations such as bending and twisting. The versatility can be used for making various deployable systems such as metamaterials, robotics, aerospace structures, and architecture.
The work was published in PNAS Early Edition on September 8, 2015.
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Link to Related Commentary : P.M. Reis, F. L. Jiménez and J. Merthelot. "Transforming architecture inspired by origami" PNAS 112(40) 12234-12235, 2015.
This work was awarded the 2015 Cozzarelli Prize, "which recognizes recently published PNAS papers of outstanding scientific excellence and originality." News Release. Photos.